Steve Cooper has praised Gaetan Bong for his influence in the dressing room despite not picking the Nottingham Forest defender much.
The Reds left-back has fallen way out of the reckoning since Max Lowe returned from injury in January.
Bong has been at Forest since January 2020 when he was part of a pretty devastating transfer window.
Sabri Lamouchi needed a couple of sprinkles of quality to maintain a promotion push but the club signed Nuno Da Costa, Adama Diakhaby and Bong.
Ultimately, that proved detrimental and Forest saw their season derailed in devastating circumstances on the final day of the season.
Bong has struggled to hold down a place in the team during his time at Forest.
The majority of his 20 appearances for the club came under Chris Hughton who had utilised Bong during his time at Brighton.
Despite only featuring four times under him, Cooper has praised Bong, however.
He told The Athletic: “We have a good mix of old players – good role models, like Gaetan Bong. He doesn’t play much but is a positive influence and I’m sure has conversations with the younger players, which I encourage.
“The learning players do with each other is a powerful thing.”
Bong on borrowed time but Cooper praise will give Forest man confidence
The left-sided player will see his Forest contract expire during the summer and he won’t be offered a new deal.
He’s not really cut the mustard at the City Ground and some supporters might be surprised with these comments from Cooper.
It’s good that he’s not proving to be a disruptive influence in a dressing room that is brimming with confidence.
If Bong plays the role of dressing room cheerleader and it helps the Reds maintain their strong form then so be it.
This just typified the togetherness that Cooper has instilled at Forest and Bong perhaps does have a role to play away from the pitch between now and the end of this contract.